John H. Willis

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John H. Willis, also know as Jack, was a professor of English at the College of William and Maryfrom 1964 until 2002, and chair of the Department of English from 1985 - 1990. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his graduate degree from Columbia. He worked in a number of capacities in the College community, including serving as aide to President Paschall.

Involvement with the Fencing Team

He studied fencing at both the University of Virginia and Columbia, as well as in Paris. When he arrived at the college he found that there was no fencing in any form. In his words, "Back in the 1930s William and Mary had an intercollegiate fencing team of some renown, but it had lapsed for all the war years. So when I came to William in 1959, or in the 60s actually, I picked up and started the William and Mary men’s fencing club and eventually turned it into a varsity sport and was coaching it as a varsity sport for a couple of years until it got (laughing) too much for me to do. Now, fencing was a great deal of fun for me in college and in graduate school and later on."[1]

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